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Screenwriting: Step by Step

The text covers twelve steps to good screenwriting. It teaches students how to choose a theme, establish a central conflict and write a story that works as drama. The book is divided into two sections: “First Steps” which teaches students the essentials of writing drama; and “Next Steps” which teaches the essentials of writing drama expressly for film. The author's wealth of real-world experience is evident in the text's practical advice to beginning screenwriters.



  • Explains cinematic principles in clear, simple, conversational prose, helping to eliminate confusion for students and jumpstart their writing process.
  • Includes a separate chapter on formatting so that students can write a script that is technically correct as well as artistically creative.
  • Offers exercises at the end of each chapter that help students clarify and reinforce the fundamentals of writing for film.

Offering the equivalent of a college level course in screenwriting, this book is available worldwide in languages ranging from English to Chinese. From its first appearance in a classroom at Oregon’s Portland Community College, it is now used at the University of Beijing.



Wendy Henson is a former college instructor in theater arts and creative writing for Portland Community College, Marylhurst University, and Portland State University. In addition to published works and produced plays, her background includes screenwriting awards, five screenplay options, three trips through development hell, and one "almost produced" feature film. 

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